DU says no to second chances

Students now have to complete their studies within time allowed

Delhi University’s academic council, which included a standing committee and used to give special chances to students who could not complete their degree, has been abolished recently.

The academic council is a highest statutory body of DU, comprising the vice chancellor, deans, head of the departments and teachers. Any academic reform to be implemented has to pass through this body.

Former committee head Barkatullah Khan said the decision is “betrayal to the humanity of the university.”

“A large number of students used to apply for a second chance. We used to have 10 to 12 meetings in a year, and would look into over 600 applications in each meeting,” he said.

“Back then applications from MPhil and PhD students used to come throughout the year, while BA and MA students had a set duration for applying,” he said.

Khan cited a case of a female student who could not complete her degree as she got married and shifted abroad.  “A few years later her husband passed away and she came back. She had to fend for her children and family. She was given the special chance,” he said.

The registrar in her October 10 notification had stated: “It is hereby notified that applications for grant of special chance beyond the stipulated span periods shall not be considered by the university. Consequently, students will have to complete their courses of study within the span periods prescribed for the courses concerned.

The applications already received by the university shall not be processed further for consideration.”

According to former committee members, around 5,000 applications used to come annually from students studying in the School of Open Learning (SOL) and Delhi College of Engineering.

“A majority of SOL students come from financially weaker sections. They have to take care of their families, get jobs and study without much assistance. They may be unwell or there is some mishap in the family. There are plenty of pressures,” said another former member.

A protest was held on Wednesday by SOL students demanding to revoke the decision. “Students have come back after 15 to 20 years in rare cases,” added Khan.

According to DU registrar Alka Sharma, a stipulated time period of six years to finish the degree is given to students.

“We need to look at the huge volume of students in DU and proper delivery. One student will apply for the special chance, that too for old courses that have been discontinued.

In such a case, the university cannot ensure deliverance of academic standards. If they have not been able to finish their degree, perhaps they are not meant to do that,” she said.

“Which universities have such provisions anyway?” she said. A senior DU official said the move was to lower the evaluation burden on the examination department.

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